MARK4474- Helping the groundswell support itself (chapter 8)



Angry because you are spending millions on a contact center? Fret not, my friend.

The most recent chapter of studies further emphasizes the shift from traditional ways of doing business to using the groundswell to address problems. Chapter 8 shows us how using the groundswell to support your customer can be more beneficial and cost-effective than using contact centres for support (Li & Bernoff, 2008).

After you buy a product a company typically won’t want to hear from you. Speaking from experience, once I finish with a customer I hope they don’t call back (hoping everything went smoothly). This is because there is a large cost associated with a customer seeking help from you. In groundswell, we are shown that a call to your companies call center can cost more than $6 in most cases. Furthermore, technical support calls can cost upwards of twice that amount. If you look at the big picture, your company could be spending a lot of money (millions of dollars) just to handle a large amount of phone calls on simple issues (Li & Bernoff, 2008).



So how do you avoid all of the unnecessary costs? Well, you can’t get rid of them completely. There will always be consumers looking for answers to complex issues. However, you can create a space where your consumers can find answers from you and from others using your product. It is crucial that you have a space where you can refer your customers to for information. Whether it’s a simple troubleshooting tool, or a forum, you need to utilize the lower-cost potential within the groundswell(Li & Bernoff, 2008).  Not only would you be reducing the cost of your contact centres, but you are reducing the stress from the wait times that your customers have to go through. Rather than taking the quick and easy route of outsourcing to another company, think about what issues you are trying to address:

1. What issues are you trying to solve?

2.  How will your company engage in this alternative?

3. Should you be creating your own platform or joining another one?

This totally depends on the size of your company as well as the products/service that you are providing. If you only have one product, you probably don’t need to spend millions of dollars to build your own support forum. You can always engage in other platforms. If you are a large company and your customers typically look for answers beyond what your direct product/service entails, then spending the money on a forum may be a great idea (Li & Bernoff, 2008). You also need to find out how you are going to drive traffic to your forum. If you spend millions of dollars to set it up and people aren’t even utilizing this service, then all would have been done for nothing.

Things to consider before building your service/forum:

1. Start small, but have the capacity to grow as you drive more traffic to your site. This will save costs as you grow (Li & Bernoff, 2008).

2. Find out who your most active customers are, and spend time seeing how knowledgeable these people are. If you create a support platform and your most enthusiastic customers aren’t engaging in it you will be stuck with the burden of answering a lot of questions (Li & Bernoff, 2008).

3.  As said before, make sure you figure out how you are driving traffic to the platform. Make sure you have links from various social media sites as well (Li & Bernoff, 2008).

4. Recognize your users. By giving your active users recognition/incentive you will be giving them more reason to continue using the service (Li & Bernoff, 2008). Remember, these people are saving you a lot of money.

Travel Industry:

For the purpose of the travel industry, I would like for focus on Airbnb. Airbnb is a site where you can go and search for places to rent in almost any city in the world. They stand out because of the large amount of users who have listed their own properties on the site. Basically, it’s all private use and Airbnb takes a service fee for using their platform.

Anyways, Airbnb has recognized that their site really is not that complex to use, so they have a space on site where they provide answers to pretty well every question you could come up with. They also have various YouTube videos that show how their service works. If you can’t find one of the questions needed, you can also do your own search on site.

As a user of Airbnb myself, I have found their support area to be concise and easy to find. At first, I was looking for answers on other sites by random users, and I found that the answers I got were either outdated or not helpful at all, so I am very happy with what Airbnb has done.  They have addressed any questions that I have ever come up with, and I didn’t need any help finding them.


Li, C., & Bernoff, J. (2008). Groundswell: Winning in a world transformed by social technologies. Boston, Mass.: Harvard Business Press.


Categories: MARK4474- Social Media

Tagged as: , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: